Month: September 2007 (page 1 of 5)

Shaun Pollock dropped for some reason

pollock.JPG42 year-old ginger snoreathon, Shaun Pollock, has been dropped from the South African Test team for the first time.

Rumours that South African coach, Mickey Arthur, said, ‘I can’t watch one more delivery from that freckled automaton,’ are probably true, although we haven’t heard it anywhere.

Pollock’s place is supposed to be going to Paul Harris, who’s a spinner, which really damages the credibility of this story. South Africa would never pick a spinner. He must be a middle-order batsman who bowls ‘a bit of spin’. He’s only got one first-class fifty to his name though. It’s all very odd.

Remember when Shaun Pollock was actually quick? You must be very old.


A match report from Greece

Miriam et al. report from Greece where they witnessed the television coverage of England’s not-at-all fictional win over New Zealand first-hand.

If you are thinking of sending a match report, consider this confirmation that not only does the report not have to be timely, it also doesn’t particularly matter if you weren’t there.

Anyway. The report:

After moaning about how we couldn’t find cricket on the radio, we found a bar that would show cricket so long as it didn’t interfere with the football or rugby. On match morning, we rocked up at 11:23am local time, expecting a breakfast of beer and bar-snacks. To our surprise and delight, the bar served proper breakfasts.

We had omelette and chips. There were eight omelettes on the menu and the four of us each had a different omelette. The barman commented that next time we could perhaps order the other four omelettes on the menu. We weren’t sure whether he was making a joke, or whether he was annoyed that we had put them to the trouble of making four different omelettes.

During the match, we consumed the following between us: two filter coffees, one latté, five glasses of “fresh” orange juice (there was another, presumably non-fresh orange juice on the menu, but we didn’t risk it), and two glasses of sparkling water.

The bar TVs had pictures but no sound, so instead of insightful commentary we were treated to the kind of saxophone muzak that used to accompany pages from Ceefax (but this did resurrect happy memories of checking the cricket score as a child). This culminated, in the final nailbiting over, with the theme tune from Cagney and Lacey.

Because of the music, we had to guess at what each new batsman’s favourite shot was. The only one we could even begin to make out was Paul Collingwood’s nurdle off the pads. We also couldn’t hear any of Rob Key’s words of wisdom during the break, but we noted that he had chosen an all black outfit to wear. We hoped that this was for its slimming properties and not subtle support for the Kiwis.

That evening we went to a cocktail bar and recreated cricketing scenes using only the items that came in or with our cocktails – and we were strict about this. I therefore attach a picture of Kevin Pietersen’s run out in the South Africa match:

kp.jpg

You will be able to make out the crease (our drinks receipt), KP (piece of melon, cocktail sticks, a grape for his head), the stumps, his bat, and that’s Shaun Pollock (not a palm tree) to the left. The Shaun Pollock “hair” strands were much longer, but I bit each of them down to a more realistic length. This was horribly time-consuming but once I’d started there was no going back, and it’s important to maintain absolute accuracy in these things.

We had had quite a few cocktails by this point. From Katie, Katy, Carolyn, and Miriam.

This isn’t really relevant to the report. I also attach a picture of a Colossus (of Rhodes, not Scott Styris), also made from cocktail accoutrements:

colossus.JPG


International Cricket Captain 3 review


Rubbish. Okay, that’s a bit extreme. How about ‘worse than its predecessor’?

The graphics are better, but still bad. The whole point of this update is the presentation (nothing else has changed) so it’s hard to ignore. Before, they hadn’t made any effort, so you overlooked the rough appearance.

It’s like when someone’s bought some ridiculous new glasses to replace a broken pair. They looked stupid before, but now it’s as if they’re actively making a point of looking like a dick.

Look:

captain.jpg

Rubbish.

And what you can’t tell from that screenshot is that each animation takes longer than the previous 2D version. You only watch the highlights to get an idea of what’s going on. Highlights aren’t the game. Highlights just keep you from the game. So the 3D highlights keep you from the game longer.

Oh and they’re jerky and hurt your eyes too.

Play the free Cricket Captain 3 demo, if you don’t believe us.

Don’t get International Cricket Captain 3. Get International Cricket Captain 2 or International Cricket Captain 2006 or whatever the hell it’s called. It’s only seven quid and it’s still the best cricket game available until they bring out one with more statistics than the entire history of the Wisden Almanack.


Kent v Durham in the County Championship – the last three days IN FULL

Lemon Bella reports:

I went to watch the last three days of the Kent v Durham County Championship match. However, because Kent appeared to have somewhere more important to be, I only ended up seeing seven hours of play. I put my spare time to good use by purchasing a new throw for my sofa from a shop in Canterbury. It’s purple and blue; I may need to get some new cushions as the old ones don’t quite match.

I stayed in a B&B and the owner told me all about Graham Gooch over breakfast. I didn’t want to know anything about Graham Gooch, but he carried on telling me anyway.

For cricket-watching snacks, I tried the new oat and cranberry clusters you can get from M&S. They were very nice, much better than their flapjacks. However, I accidentally left the tub in the sun and they went a bit funny.

The coffee machine had broken down, and the coffee they offered at the bar was horrible. It was a terrible end to the season.


India win Twenty20 World Cup

India celebrate winning the Twenty20 World Cup

How can a mere 40 overs of cricket contain so many twists and turns?

The last three or four overs in particular were dramatic dynamite. Commentators would say ‘Pakistan are almost certain to win now,’ one ball, yet find themsleves saying it was ‘India’s game to lose,’ the next.

It was unreal. Pakistan would lose a wicket, look dead and buried and then suddenly clout a pair of sixes. India would watch the ball disappear into the stands a few times and then clean bowl someone.

Joginder Sharma was the poor bastard entrusted with the final over. He’s barely played an international match, so it was understandable when his first delivery was a monstrous wide. Nerves will decide it, we thought.

Misbah-ul-Haq appeared to be immune to the tension when he pounded a gargantuan straight-driven six, but in fact he was the one who succumbed to the magnitude of the occasion, attempting a fairly-ludicrous over-the-shoulder loft down to fine leg which was all the more painful considering there were still three further deliveries and that he appeared to have the ability to put the ball where he wanted (the stands) when playing straight.

We won’t repeat ourself for a third time, but what a brilliant tournament and what a brilliant final.

India v Pakistan, ICC Twenty20 World Cup final at Johannesburg
India 157-5 (Gautam Gambhir 75 off 54 balls, Rohit Sharma 30 off 16 balls, Umar Gul 3-28)
Pakistan 152 all out (Misbah-ul-Haq 43 off 38 balls, Imran Nazir 33 off 14 balls, Irfan Pathan 3-16, RP Singh 3-26)


Twenty20 World Cup final, India v Pakistan

If the proper World Cup was pretty rubbish with lots of things going wrong, the Twenty20 World Cup has pretty much addressed each of these issues.

There’ve been crowds, excitement, few dead matches and they’ve even managed to get the final that all cricket tournaments want – India v Pakistan.

And it’s being played at Monday lunchtime, which is, er, maybe not when finals of major tournaments are usually played, but that’s okay.


Yuvraj Singh: How much better could he be?

The answer, of course, is none. None better.

India were doing precisely nothing when he came to the crease in the Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against Australia. They were 41-2 after eight overs. ‘It’s too hard’ they seemed to be saying. ‘We can’t lay bat on ball’.

‘What?’ said Yuvraj Singh, utterly perplexed by his team mates’ inability to time the ball with absolute perfection. ‘Just do this,’ he instructed and promptly hit 70 runs off 30 balls, scything five fours and as many sixes.

If we were Yuvraj Singh, we’d feel perfectly happy about pointing at ourself in the mirror and saying ‘you the man’ because we’d be well aware that we were the man and wouldn’t be at all shy about letting ourself know this fact.


Sussex win the County Championship

Mushy.jpgSussex success. Lancashire disappointment. The County Championship ends in displeasingly familiar fashion.

We’re not really that bothered though. Sussex are a great side. There’s Robin Martin-Jenkins, the handiest county player imaginable. A man who’s never going to get picked for England yet merrily scores fifties and chips in with wickets as regularly as we hit our shin against the foot of the bed when walking past it.

There’s Chris Adams who alternates between looking like an utterly crap amateur and brutalising bowling for robust hundreds.

And then there’s Mushy. Mushtaq Ahmed is a bowler who takes vast quantities of wickets so consistently that we can happily point you towards three posts we wrote last year instead of creating something new. They seem just as applicable now as they did then. The man’s relentless. Age shall not weary him.


Mark Ramprakash’s Bradmania

This is Grimlock. He’s a dinosaur who is also a robot. It literally doesn’t get any better than that.

grimlock.jpg

At the end of last season, we hypothesised that Mark Ramprakash had been spurred into overachievement by a promise from his father. We thought that maybe Mark’s dad had said he would get Galvatron for Mark if he passed 2,000 runs during the season – 2,000 runs being a ludicrous amount, ensuring that Mark’s dad wouldn’t have to part with any cash.

Unfortunately for Mark’s dad, Mark managed 2,278 runs at an average of 103.54. We urged Mark to try for Grimlock this year. Mark scored 2,026 runs at an average of 101.30, so while he’s clearly on the slide, Grimlock’s in the bag.

The man’s a genius. That’s not going to stop us from smashing Grimlock when he’s not looking though, because his last two hundreds have deprived Lancashire of the County Championship.


Dhanuka Pathirana sets the standard

We’re in the middle of the Twenty20 World Cup and what is considered acceptable batting behaviour is changing by the day.

Yuvraj Singh’s 12 ball fifty the other day is only three balls shy of the perfect half-century – the minimum number of balls required to pass the landmark. However, if he thinks that hitting six sixes off an over is impressive, he clearly doesn’t know much about Twenty20 cricket.

A couple of weeks ago, in the Saddleworth league, a player by the name of Dhanuka Pathirana played an innings of such astoundingly sustained destruction we can’t even comprehend it. It was the kind of sporting performance that doesn’t belong in cricket. It was more akin to darts or ten-pin bowling where perfection’s the norm and matches are decided by rare mistakes.

Playing for Austerlands against Droylsden, Dhanuka Pathirana hit 277 off just 72 balls. That’s a whisker away from being four runs a ball OVER 72 BALLS. If you batted for 72 balls and hit every other ball for six, you’d still only end up with 216. Pathirana hit 29 sixes and 18 fours.

Back when 20 over cricket was just ‘cricket’ this probably wouldn’t have been such big news, but now it’s ‘Twenty20’ and branded so it’s massive.

Thanks to Raoul for pointing this out to us. Ages ago.


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